Syrian troops encircle last Islamic State-held town

Posted November 09, 2017

Syrian army and allied forces have taken Albu Kamal, the last major town held by so-called Islamic State in the country, pro-government sources say. At the height of its power in 2015, it ruled an expanse of Iraq and Syria, eradicating the border, printing money, imposing draconian laws and plotting attacks across the world.

The Syrian army, alongside its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, and other Shiite militias, and backed by Iran and Russian Federation, have seized swaths of central and eastern Syria in an advance against Islamic State this year.

USA -led airstrikes against ISIS are down 60 to 70 percent the past month compared to the previous eight months as the caliphate crumbles in Iraq and Syria and the number of targets decrease "dramatically", according to the deputy commander for air operations against ISIS.

Hezbollah was "the foundation in the battle of Albu Kamal", said the commander, adding that hundreds of the elite forces of the Iran-backed Shi'ite group took part in the battle.

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Syrian state media have not yet confirmed the capture of Albu Kamal.

The decline came in the same month that Raqqa, Daesh's Syrian stronghold, fell to US-backed Kurdish forces.

As ISIS is destroyed in Iraq, Croft said Iraqi security forces will not cross the border into Syria to pursue them. Citing an unnamed Iraqi intelligence source, the Iraqi News Media Agency claimed Monday the infamous Salafi Sunni Muslim cleric escaped the other collapsing half of his self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq via yellow taxi as Iraqi troops and the Popular Mobilization Forces retook the Iraq-Syria border crossing of Al-Qa'im.